Rodarte Wins Swiss Textile Awards

The first American designers ever to win the award speak to Dazed Digital after scooping toe EUR100,000 prize.

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A wave of referential pop culture swept over the Swiss capital Zurich last Thursday as designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, 29 and 28 years young, won the annual Swiss Textile Award of 100,000 euros.

The LA-based duo, by name of Rodarte, not only impressed a judging panel including i-D's Terry Jones and Patricia Field, but also a huge international audience who clapped in unison at their Grecian punk dresses.

Although in their own words their work is very personal it's genius lies in it's ability to be extremely clever while at the same time wearable and well crafted. They also featured black leggings and what's been establishing itself as a classic this decade, a black leather bomber jacket. Speculatively, the designers also gave props to a myriad of pop culture references that traced back to the beginnings of a celebrity obsessed culture; Greek mythology.

Having accepted their award, handed over by previous winner Marios Schwab, with tears of joy, Dazed Digital spoke to Kate Mulleavy to hear more.

Dazed Digital: So how are you feeling?
Kate Mulleavy: I feel honoured to be part of an international community!

DD: Well done., that in itself could be your unique selling point! What else is unique about your work?
KM: Laura and I design with a modern sensibility. Our collections are very personal. In the end, we suppose our pieces are more of a reflection of our imagination than anything else.

DD: What inspires you?
KM: Art, literature, film and nature. I remember growing up, being surrounded by redwoods. I think you end up looking at light and shadow differently when you're surrounded by such large organisms. Everything seems small and minute - very important. You become hyper aware of detail because knowing that such a primordial world can exist around you in a modern world is incomprehensible.

DD: How did this transfer into your spring collection?
KM: Spring 2009 explores the link between site-specific art and the search for life in space. Earth art and science fiction are intertwined. The central theme of the collection centres around the idea of remnants; things that are wasted away or gathered and are left to build a skeleton of the past. The collection unfolds as a space opera: the human side to all that is normally told with a veil of futurism.

DD: What do you love about fashion (why do you do this)?
KM: It is instinctual.

DD: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
KM: We will continue to design collections that are inspired from our own sensibility and collaborate with interesting artists.

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